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STANZ speaker profile: Karen Johnson

If you’re interested in testing you’ll want to hear what testing experts have to say on the subject. At this year’s STANZ (Software Testing Australia New Zealand conference) there will be presentations from four international testing experts. Each week we’ll tell you a little bit more about each of them. This week we’re introducing Karen Johnson.

About Karen:

Karen is a software test consultant. She is based in Chicago but travels to speak at conferences around the world and work with organisations planning test strategy.

She has worked as a software tester or test manager since 1992 after catching the testing bug (pardon the pun) while writing technical guides.

Karen’s testing history is very varied. She has worked with banking, manufacturing and ecommerce software as well as content management systems, medical software and business intelligence initiatives.

As well as teaching and testing Karen is a contributing author to the book Beautiful Testing released by O’Reilly publishers. She has published numerous articles and blog posts about her experiences with software testing. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2011 in STANZ 2011, Testing

 

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STANZ speaker profile: Jan Jaap Cannegieter

If you’re interested in testing you’ll want to hear what testing experts have to say on the subject. At this year’s STANZ (Software Testing Australia New Zealand conference) there will be presentations from four international testing experts. Each week we’ll tell you a little bit more about each of them. This week we’re introducing Jan Jaap:

About Jan Jaap

Jan Jaap is an extremely accomplished testing consultant, trainer and commentator. He is interested in testing, quality assurance and requirements. He is from the Netherlands and has worked for local government agencies, Dutch Tax Administration, various ministries, the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce, Postbank / ING, Rabobank, ABN AMRO, Corus, Central Book house, Swiss Life, Cordares, Achmea MortgageDutch National Railway, KPN, Tele2 and Ziggo.

Jan Jaap is a trainer who delivers courses and workshops in Quality Assurance in ICT and requirements. He has co-authored eight books and written several journal articles. He has spoken at international conferences such as Testnet, ESEPG, SPIder, PROFES, Dutch Testing Day, LaQuSo and Prince 2 User Group.

He is a member of the executive board of SYSQA B.V., an independent organization specialising in requirements, testing, quality assurance and process improvement. Within SYSQA he is responsible for knowledge management, product management and quality management.

Jan Jaap will be delivering a keynote presentation and workshop around the TMMi (Test Maturity Model integrated). He was part of the development group for TMMi level 4 and 5 and co-author of “The Little TMMi”, the first book in English about TMMi, so it’s a topic he knows a lot about.

Test Process Improvement: Testers Get Out of Your Cave!

Only by involving stakeholders outside of test processes will an improvement in the test processes be accomplished. The process areas we as testers can fully control are pretty mature. The process areas where we need other stakeholders like project management and general management are less mature. Consider results of Test Maturity Model (TMMi) Assessments and learn that if we want to make testing more mature, we have to get out of our cave.

TMMi (Test Maturity Model integrated): Valuable Practice with Quick Scans

This is a hands-on interactive session useful to all organisations and test groups. In this session Jan Jaap will demonstrate the Quick Scan tool which allows you to gauge your levels across a number of key areas which in turn allows you to discover where you should focus your efforts. By the end of the session you’ll know how to get the most out of Quick Scans to benefit your organisation.

During the workshop you’ll also have an introduction to the basics of TMMi, the history and structure, a comparison between TMMi and other test process improvement models.

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2011 in STANZ 2011

 

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STANZ speaker profile: Goranka Bjedov from Facebook

If you’re interested in testing you’ll want to hear what testing experts have to say on the subject. At this year’s STANZ (Software Testing Australia New Zealand conference) there will be presentations from four international testing experts. Each week we’ll tell you a little bit more about each of them. This week we’re introducing Goranka:

 About Goranka:

Goranka is coming over to Australasia prepared to cause controversy with her keynote speech on The Future of Quality. She will also run a workshop teaching the skills to find and develop skilled testers.

Goranka is interested in performance, capacity and reliability analysis, as well as test planning. She is currently the Capacity Planning Engineer at Facebook but she has also spent five years performance testing at Google and worked for Network Appliance and AT&T Labs so she has lots of real world testing experience. Before becoming a tester she was an Associate Professor at the Purdue University Schools of Engineering so she’s pretty smart too.

Somehow Goranka has also found the time to write papers, presentations and two textbooks. She regularly speaks at conferences around the world and spoke at STANZ in 2007. After that event the feedback was so fantastic that we’ve been trying to get her back ever since and we’re very excited to see what she has to say this year.

The Future of Quality Keynote:

This talk addresses the impact of changes such as Cloud, Open Source and Software Complexity on testing and test professionals. Goranka has spent two years researching this topic and spoken to hundreds of testers about it.

The future can seem scary, with start-ups popping up everywhere working out how to offer the same product or service as you for less money by using Cloud or Open Source to drive down costs. At the same time established companies have extremely complex software systems within which it is almost impossible to isolate single layers and identify what they do. Goranka is going to discuss quality in the context of our changing world and technology. And when we say quality, it might not be what you have traditionally thought of as quality because quality the way you may currently think of it doesn’t count anymore. Find out why.

Testing Skills: How to Find and Develop Skilled Testers:

Anyone who has recruited in the testing space will be familiar with the following questions:

  • What are the characteristics and skills of good software testers?
  • How do you check or interview a person for a testing position?
  • What types of people make bad testers?
  • How do you develop potential, if you do not have an experienced team?

If you work in testing you’ll have no doubt come across other testers with incredibly varied levels of skill and knowledge. It can be a frustrating thing. Goranka will introduce simple methods of checking if someone has a developer or tester mindset. She’ll also give you a list of topics, games and exercises to sharpen the skills of your testing team.

Book your ticket for STANZ, go on, it’s going to be awesome!

In conclusion Goranka is a clever and engaging speaker who will deliver two useful and inspiring presentations. And she is only one part of a packed two-day conference, so go and book your ticket for STANZ.

Still need convincing? (man, tough crowd) Then watch this video of Goranka give a talk about open source tools for performance testing at Google:

Did you watch it? Great speaker, isn’t she? Now book your STANZ ticket. Thanks.

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2011 in STANZ 2011

 

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‘Soft’ skills or dealbreakers?

A few weeks ago the Australian sales team headed down to Sydney to attend Agile Australia 2011. They had a busy couple of days meeting and talking to Agilests from all over the country and noticed a common theme. Lots of companies have adopted the practices of Agile without accompanying them with the necessary cultural shift that they needed to make things actually happen. Anyone working in software development will have heard that story before and it always makes me wonder why we still use the term ‘soft skills’. Soft skills are not a small, unimportant or unnecessary thing to consider, they are the crux of your organisation’s ability to succeed. If you can’t talk to people, listen to them and work together you’ll never get anything done!

With regards to Agile, in order for projects to be successful you need support from your business and investment in training and coaching so that all staff members come along for the ride. The processes of Agile and Scrum are important, but without understanding why you are following these processes it’s going to be almost impossible to make anyone do them (which is the reason SoftEd’s Agile training courses focus on awareness as well as process).

What else did they see at the conference? First of all keynote speaker Alistair Cockburn talked about Agile UX Design as an ‘up and coming’ area of interest. They listened to Rob Thomsett‘s presentation on whether your business is ready for Agile According to Rob, “implementing Agile practices is a disruptive cultural revolution” and Agile business models are based on simplicity and transparency. Daniel Oertli, who has made big changes at REA Group, promoted the value of planning (not plans necessarily, but the actual planning process) and of being customer centric rather than customer driven (an important distinction I think, after all you can’t and probably shouldn’t do every single thing that every customer requests, but you need them at the heart of your organisation to make sure you’re going in the right direction).

According to Michael Bromley Agile isn’t the point, better is the point, and his organisation (NBN-Co) believe that Agile is radical and will take time to develop, but the only way to make this happen is to get started and go for it because you learn Agile by being Agile. Just as you learn, fail and improve in Agile projects you must learn, fail and improve at doing Agile itself, “Agile is a way of thinking”.

There were a few other things you see at most conferences nowadays: panel discussions, game playing (the marshmallow challenge) and the usual buzz-word bingo (everyone has their favourite terms!) which keep us entertained over the two days. Thanks Agile Australia!

And just one last thing, we at Software Education run conferences as well: SDC, focusing on business analysis and Agile and STANZ, our testing conference. We are really proud of the calibre of international speakers who present at these events and the high quality of the event, the material and the discussions which is always reflected in the feedback we get so if you’re interested in coming along, or want to know more about us in general please go to www.softed.com. Thanks!

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2011 in Agile, Culture

 

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Exploratory Testing is Dead! Long Live Wombat Testing!

During one of my many customer visits last week I was talking to someone who has been a software tester and business analyst for the last six years. We talked about the variety of training courses there are available and the benefits they provide (letting them know that we offer lots of great testing courses at SoftEd of course!).

This customer hasn’t been on any training courses so far in their career but they did attend our STANZ conference in 2008 and it proved to be an informative experience. Without any specific guidance their team at work had come up with their own terminology for what they did, such as “Wombat Testing”. This was the name they gave to the practice of ‘burrowing’ through a system looking for bugs. After attending STANZ they realised that what they did had a ‘proper’ name: Exploratory Testing; and that actually lots of other test teams use it as well and have had great results.

I thought this was interesting for two reasons. Firstly I’ve heard people say ‘I don’t have time for training’ so many times, however when people have been able to go on a course or go to a conference we get an overwhelmingly positive response. This was certainly the case for this particular tester. They were in the middle of a big project when STANZ 2008 was on, and they had to make a case for attending the conference, but because they were successful they not only got to meet other testers with similar war stories but they also acquired new skills to improve their “Wombat Testing”. Secondly I think “Wombat Testing” is a brilliant name – Exploratory Testing is Dead, Long Live Wombat Testing!

(By the way, this is meant to be a story more than a sales pitch but if you do want to know more about STANZ you can visit our website and if you want help making a business case to secure your attendance this year, get in touch with SoftEd!)

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2011 in Courses, Testing

 

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Telling Stories & Test Pairing

STANZ 2009 was a fabulous event and I am so sorry it is over. It is great to be able to get so involved with some of the best minds in our industry. Karen N Johnson gave a number of presentations and a workshop in New Zealand. It was a pleasure to meet her and discuss various techniques and approaches.

One session of Karen’s that I sat in on was “Test Pairing” – how you can combine your testing to get the maximum benefits. It opened with an excellent discussion on the various types of testing that are available to us as testers. Karen challenged us to think about these test types and others…and it was a challenge. She has compiled a very comprehensive list. The thing that I like about it is that the definitions AND examples are the sort of information that you want to have available when you are talking testing to non-testers, and new testers, and testers who you don’t know. They provide an excellent reference point for common understanding. Karen laced her talk with hints and tips that made it truely invaluable. I’ve found at least 2 new tools and reference sites for my work! (perlclip and www.cookie.com). Karen also discussed a lot of the test types that are often forgotten or prioritised lower in the test effort. The use of exercises and open discussions from the floor was fabulous as it meant we were able to learn rather than just listen! I got so many hints and tips from this session that I would need 2 blogs to list them all! If you want them, let me know.

Karen’s key note address was about story telling. Which when you think about it, is what we do…and Karen drew that analogy very very well. Her presentation was a delight…a real change of pace. Slides with a picture and a single word! The audience’s world was rocked!!! Karen has become involved in various story telling groups and is working on the art of story telling and then has translated it into the testing world. Given that it is our role to provide information, it would behove us to do it in the best possible manner. Karen gave us hints and tips and pointers on how to make the most of our communication – given that is the primary role of testing – I thought it was great to have more information. It was a really enlightening and thoroughly enjoyable presentation!

Karen also participated in the panel session in New Zealand and nearly reduced us all to tears. One of the delegates asked “what was the best piece of advice that you have ever been given” to the panel. Karen responded with a heart warming story about her mentor, learning, the value of sharing and the place of knowledge in our world. It was great! None of the other panel members wanted to follow after that one! She aced it!

Posted by Sharon Robson

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2009 in Testing, Uncategorized

 

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STANZ 2010 – Who and what???

Someone recently asked me “if you could ask any person anything, who would you ask and what would you ask?” This was very thought provoking…and reading the discussion on the STANZ LinkedIn Group made me think about it too. Who and what? To assist I cast my eyes over my bookshelf, blog list, and magazine subscriptions.
Who would I ask and what would I love to hear them talk about?

Rex Black – metrics – best ones, quick wins, most effective

Michael Bolton – metrics – as above (I love to hear the variety of approaches)

Dot Graham – Automation

Capers Jones – estimation, metrics again (am I boring??)

Lisa Crispin &/or Tip House – testing agile!

Karl Wiegers (I know he does requirements – BUT….) – how to test requirements

DeMarco & Lister – Peopleware is a FABULOUS book – more on the soft skills and understanding how testers can work better.

Critical Thinking….anyone who can talk about how to expand my mental horizons and think “outside the square”.

Wow…and the list goes on!

Who would you ask, and what would you ask?

posted by Sharon Robson

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2009 in Project Management, Quality, Testing

 

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